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Herding, Mistakes, Forgiveness – Ag in the Bible

November 9, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow many times have you seen an urgent plea for a dog or other animal that needs a home due to an infraction of behavior in the home? How often do you think about our mistakes and infractions, and if we were judged by the same code? What if we already have been?

Imagine that you are so wired into wanting to help that you charge into a situation wanting to help and find that you created damage instead of helping? Are we smarter than a border collie?

Yesterday Belle got in trouble. For those who missed it, last weekend Connor and I picked up a border collie who had gotten in trouble. She knew some things, but not enough, and in the hopes of a better situation for her she came here. She has been adjusting to her spot in the pack, and everyone else adjusting to her.

Belle is used to cattle. A cattle dog works fast, and can get in and grab if the situation calls for it. It’s how a 50 pound dog gets a 1200 pound animal to move. Other dogs can work slower, relying more on the border collie stare of intimidation. Belle has learned to work fast, as cattle have been a practice sparring partner. Well, she’s been behaving so I let her off leash yesterday. She started trying to work fast, and got in trouble. She was verbally corrected the first time, and the second time tied up to think for a little bit. The issue – chickens don’t work as fast as cattle, nor do they think like cattle. Chickens aren’t cows! They don’t see the same world view, and Belle has not yet gotten her new language down.

belleSo she started getting impatient, was moving a black hen and grabbed her. That is when she got a time out. The hen is sore, as Belle broke the skin but we hope will be ok – she’s separated into a sick pen where she can see the others and recover without having to jostle for food and water. It was a mistake on Belle’s part, and on mine. It’s easy to blame the dog! Belle was trying to help, but did the wrong thing.

How often do Christians do the same thing? We’re excited about what we know and run out to indoctrinate the world with our enthusiasm. We run in when they want to move slower. They then run and we try to grab to our level. They don’t have the same world view and we haven’t gotten down effective communication. We get impatient – does it drive them further from Him or do we take a time out to think of a better way? Do we blame the ‘dog’ or the ‘chicken’ or the handler?

The only way to really change is to look at ourselves and our actions. Hopefully the hurts will heal and we have a chance to make it right. If we descend on not-yet-Christians like we’re famished and looking at a buffet we can’t be surprised if they tune out. Slow down. Share our story. Let Him do the rest.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, – Acts 3:19

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; – Daniel 9:9

“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:9-15

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. “- Mark 11:25

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